Manchester, N.H.—After 38 years, CCA Global Partners founder and co-CEO, Howard Brodsky, is retiring, effective Oct. 1, 2022. He will remain the chairman of the CCA board and very involved in the company. The board and the governance committee said they have well planned this retirement and transition to be seamless with Rick Bennet, who is and has been co-CEO for the last 14 years, taking the helm to lead CCA Global into the future.
“I have absolute trust and faith that Rick, as the CEO, will lead the company to even greater levels of success,” Brodsky said. “CCA’s next generation of leadership is solid, and I know our next 38 years will exceed the past. Our company is stronger than ever because our success is a real team effort. Because of our member-focused culture, we have a team of amazing, dedicated associates who are the backbone of our growth. We just completed our best year in history, and we are very proud to be paying the highest rebates of any cooperative in North America. I never imagined that what started as an idea in 1984 would become so widely successful in so many industries.”
Brodsky started the cooperative with Alan Greenberg in 1984, and over the years they have helped thousands of family businesses realize their dreams, the company said. Now more than 4,000 member locations, 30,000 childcare centers and almost 1 million family businesses benefit from CCA Global’s leadership through its 14 different businesses: Carpet One Floor & Home, ProSource, Flooring America and Flooring Canada, FEI Group, The Floor Trader, International Design Guild, Lighting One, savings4members, The Bike Cooperative, CCA Sports Retail Services, CCA for Social Good, Innovia Co-op, Lionsbridge Contractor Group and Drive.
“As I reflect on my journey the emotions are overwhelming,” Brodsky added. “The first word that comes to mind is family. My father’s love and pride in his family business inspired me to partner with my best friend Alan Greenberg to found CCA. We had a singular belief that we could truly help family businesses thrive in North America using the co-op model. Thirty-eight years later, thousands of members in dozens of industries have come together like a large extended family to create a larger business where we can all succeed.”
At the heart of Brodsky’s lifelong work is the fight for the success of independent, family-owned businesses. Through its mission, structure, passion and perseverance, CCA Global generates the scale that makes it possible for a family-owned, independent business to do more than merely survive; they make it possible for that business to compete and thrive.
Brodsky said he sees an urgency in recognizing shared ownership business models, like the cooperative structure utilized at CCA Global, as value-creating business engines for people and their communities to retain their identity and ensure their communities are the ultimate beneficiaries of success.
“The co-op model is a unique business model with members at its heart,” Brodsky explained. “I’ve always considered it capitalism with a conscience. We have the best of both worlds in that we can build the common good by sharing profits back with members, while also honoring our entrepreneurial spirit. When given the same scale and resources as large conglomerates, family businesses win! This model shows that we are stronger together. Life is about stories, experiences and celebrating differences. It’s in those differences that make up the unique tapestry of our cooperative model. We have held a singular belief at CCA Global that we can truly help family businesses thrive. It is one part scale and another part resources to compete with the corporate giants, but it is also about boundless creativity, embracing our differences and being nimble. It has been proven true time and time again.”
Brodsky’s leadership over almost four decades has built the organization into a multi-billion-dollar company, one of the largest retail companies in America, and the 14th largest retail cooperative in the world. What the company said surprises people most about CCA Global and Brodsky is that while he is the founder, chairman and retiring co-CEO, he does not own a single share of the company. Because CCA Global is a cooperative, it is owned by the members—the individual business owners operating their individual family businesses. A defining difference between CCA and other conventional companies.
CCA has shared over $1 billion in profits back to its members. “Our success was never meant to be singular, but shared by all,” Brodsky noted. “I’ve been lucky every day to still wake up with passion and a love for what I do. It’s a gift. It has been an honor to be on this journey. We have helped so many people, creating lifelong friendships along the way.”
The individual success of each member and family together makes CCA a model for business now and in the future, the group said. At its heart, CCA said its success has come from its community of people. They are not only members, but they have also become friends, many member-businesses have been in their families for generations and attribute that to CCA and Howard’s leadership, the group said. It is evident throughout its history, Brodsky has led with love for the company, its members, its community and its staff, the group said.
“I’ve always tried to make decisions with both my head and my heart,” Brodsky said. “Many people don’t talk about love in business. For me, love is at the core of our mission at CCA, and I know the next generation will continue that legacy of business done with clear eyes and a full heart.”
Brodsky said he will continue to foster his legacy of a team approach to helping family businesses grow and thrive in his continuing role as chairman of CCA’s board. He will continue board roles with the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF), the National Cooperative Business Association, among several others. Brodsky said he is also taking larger roles in the global cooperative business community. He continues his chairmanship of the International Cooperative Alliance’s contributing working group to the G20 summit in Indonesia this year and in 2023 in India—bringing the voices of 1 billion cooperative members around the globe to the most prestigious platform connecting the world’s major developed and emerging economies. He is continuing to contribute to the greater global business community in many ways, championing sustainability, combating inequality and family-owned businesses everywhere. He said he also looks forward to extra time at home with his wife, Joan, their dog, Winston, and his two sons, Jeff and Greg, and their growing number of grandchildren.